Menteri Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan, Siti Nurbaya saat memberikan keterangan perayaan  FLEGT License kepada media. Foto : JPIK

National Celebration The launch of the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) license was held in Jakarta, November 24, 2016. This celebration is something that has been long awaited, after going through a 9-year process of Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA). FLEGT VPA between Indonesia and the European Union has arrived in 2013 and its ratification in 2014, and on 15 November 2016, Indonesia became the first country in the world to win the right to issue a FLEGT license.

The Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya stated that this was a historic event amid efforts to combat illegal logging in Indonesia.

“I think this is a very good step, the first time for countries in the world to have a Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade. A long business in 14 years, especially in the final parts because it must pass the decision of several Ministers. So this is ours, it has Indonesia, “said Siti Nurbaya.

By applying the principles of legality and sustainability in the SVLK scheme, Indonesia proves its commitment to the European Union and the world to implement a sustainable timber trading scheme that will guarantee forest sustainability. “This celebration is also a place to show that this VPA is real, showing that the SVLK brings benefits, creates competitiveness,” said Ida Bagus Putera Parthama, Director General of Sustainable Production Forest Management of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

The full implementation of the timber trade cooperation agreement between Indonesia and the European Union is celebrated with the release of FLEGT-licensed Indonesian timber product containers with the aim of the European market on 15 November 2016. Since the SVLK was implemented in 2013, the export value of Indonesian wood products increased from USD10.4 billion to USD10.6 billion in 2015. This record is based on data from the Timber Legality Information System managed by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), and connected with INATRADE and Indonesian Single Window.

The European Union through its Ambassador to Indonesia and Brunei, Vincent Guerend, stressed that in the future it will implement a more stringent due diligence process. This means that Indonesia has passed the intended stage because with the FLEGT scheme, SVLK certified Indonesian wood products do not need to go through due diligence processes and will automatically enter through the green lane of customs destination countries in the European Union.

Indonesia’s achievement in developing an internationally recognized SVLK can be a guideline for other natural resource products as a commitment to sustainable use of natural resources to increase competitiveness in the global market.

“The Ministry of Trade has issued Regulation of the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia (Permendag) number 25 of 2016 as of April 12 relating to the provisions on the export of forestry industry products. In this permendag the provisions of SVLK are a must. “FLEGT is an opportunity to increase exports of our forestry production,” explained Doddy Edward, Director General of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Trade.

Related to export products, the Ministry of Industry through the Director General of Agro Industry, Panggah Susanto said that the Indonesian government has agreed to export high value-added products by exporting more of its downstream products. FLEGT, SVLK, ISPO and others are an integral part of efforts to eliminate the stigma of unsustainable product management.

In line with that, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) involved in the FLEGT-VPA negotiations saw the potential benefits and benefits of the FLEGT License from the Indonesian side. Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs keeps on trying to convince its colleagues in European Union countries to support Indonesian FLEGT. According to the Director General of Intra-European-American Regions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dewi Gustina Tobing, if the size is a criterion of the European Union, similar licenses for other countries will certainly be easier.

Welcoming this celebration the Independent Forest Monitoring Network reminded that recognition of the SVLK was a success and a challenge for Indonesia to be able to consistently implement the SVLK in a credible and accountable manner. Indonesia must continue to work hard to maintain the credibility of the system by showing seriousness in following up the findings of violations in the implementation of the SVLK.

Various reports of violations submitted by independent monitors such as the findings of forms of mal-administration, the mode of counterfeiting licenses and fraud through the practice of borrowing flags must be followed up through effective law enforcement. In addition, strengthening SVLK standards through the improvement of various regulations is also important to be ensured to achieve sustainable and equitable forest management.

“The current development should be appreciated and read as the seriousness of all parties in Indonesia towards efforts to reform the forestry sector which is full of illegality and corruption. Even though this system is not perfect but this initiative has forced various parties to make improvements and show accountability, which in the long run will have an impact on improving forest governance, “explained Muhamad Kosar, JPIK National Dynamics.

As of 23 November 2016 Indonesia has issued 845 FLEGT licenses with the aim of 24 countries in the EU valued at USD 24,961,503.17, consisting of panel products, furniture, woodworking, crafts, chips, paper and tools. It was noted that panel products ranked first with a value of USD 11,923,104.61, followed by furniture products with a value of USD 7,250,380.63.